Los Angeles: 'When Harry Met Sally' star Billy Crystal is the new host of the 2012 Oscars following Eddie Murphy's decision to step down.

This will mark Crystal's ninth time as host. Only Bob Hope has hosted more Academy Awards presentations, with 19 ceremonies between 1940 and 1978. Crystal last hosted the
Academy Awards in 2004.

"Some of the best moments of my career have happened on the Oscar stage. I am thrilled to be back there. Actually, I am doing this so that the young woman in my pharmacy will stop asking me my name when I pick up my prescriptions," said Crystal in a statement.

The 63-year-old actor emerged as the popular choice to replace Murphy hours after the 'Dreamgirls' star announced his resignation to support ousted show producer Brett Ratner, who was fired from the job over an anti-gay slur.

New producer Brian Grazer took just 24 hours to sign Crystal up for his first Academy Awards hosting gig since2003.

"Like so many others, I've been eager to see Billy host again. It's very gratifying that he agreed to do it with Don and me at the helm," Grazer said.

The funnyman was expected to be named the host of the 84th Oscars after making an appearance on the 2011 telecast to present a tribute to Bob Hope.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Tom Sherak said he is thrilled to welcome Crystal back to the Oscars.

"He is a comic legend and Oscar icon, and it feels good to have him back where he belongs. Like so many others, I've been eager to see Billy host again."

The Oscars will take place on February 26, 2012.

(Agencies)